United Rugby Championship: Seb Davies to make 100th appearance for Cardiff

Colin Newboult

Seb Davies will make his 100th first team appearance as Cardiff welcome Zebre Parma to the Arms Park for the final home game of the season on Friday night.

The lock, who progressed through Cardiff’s pathway system and made his first team debut in 2014, links up with Matthew Screech in the second-row as the Blue and Blacks target a return to winning ways.

The rescheduled United Rugby Championship encounter will also see prop Rhys Carré earn his 50th cap for the club, and he is joined by Liam Belcher and Dmitri Arhip in the front-row.

Josh Navidi continues as captain in an unchanged back-row, with Rhys Priestland and Matthew Morgan coming into the back-line to replace the injured Jarrod Evans and Hallam Amos at fly-half and full-back respectively.

Kirby Myhill is set to reach a century of United Rugby Championship appearances from the bench, as Teddy Williams, Ellis Bevan and Ben Thomas are all welcomed back into the matchday squad.

Young back Mason Grady, who impressed in Cardiff RFC’s title run-in, is named in the first team squad for the first time since recovering from a knee injury suffered in March 2020.

Zebre Parma debut for Franco Smith Junior

Meanwhile, despite registering their first win of the United Rugby Championship against the Dragons last week, Zebre Parma have made several changes to their run-on side for this encounter.

In the backline, Franco Smith Junior, who is the son of Italy’s current head of high performance and the country’s former national coach with the same name, will make his debut for the Italian outfit at inside centre. He forms a centre partnership with Erich Cronjé while Timothy O’Malley and Chris Cook form the half-back partnership.

The rest of the backline consists of Michelangelo Biondelli, who starts at full-back, while Junior Laloifi and Simone Gesi are the starting wings.

In the forwards, Jimmy Tuivaiti starts at number eight alongside Maxime Mbandà and Luca Andreani, who start on the flanks while Andrea Zambonin and David Sisi pack down in the engine room.

Up front, Ion Neculai and Danilo Fischetti are the starting props while Luca Bigi lines up at hooker.

The teams:

Cardiff: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Max Llewellyn, 11 Theo Cabango, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 James Ratti, 7Josh Navidi (c), 6 James Botham, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Liam Belcher, 1 Rhys Carré
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Teddy Williams, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Ellis Bevan, 22 Ben Thomas, 23 Mason Grady

Zebre Parma: 15 Michelangelo Biondelli, 14 Junior Laloifi, 13 Erich Cronjé, 12 Franco Smith Jr, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Timothy O’Malley, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Jimmy Tuivaiti, 7 Maxime Mbandà, 6 Luca Andreani, 5 Andrea Zambonin, 4 David Sisi (c), 3 Ion Neculai, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Paolo Buonfiglio
Replacements: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Juan Pitinari, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Gabriele Venditti, 20 Ross Vintcent, 21 Nicolò Casilio, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Lorenzo Pani

Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Carwyn Williams (Wales)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)

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